Box Squats During Pregnancy and Postpartum
Why We Love the Box Squat
I recently started working with a prenatal mama and on day one, as I do with most prenatal clients on day one, we box squatted. This woman has been a member of my gym and taken my Postpartum Series after baby #1 and as soon as I told her we were box squatting, she exclaimed, “The box squat changed my life! Getting off the couch with a sleeping baby in my arms after nursing WAS a box squat!” This, my friends, is called dynamic stability! In the three years since she’s been in my postpartum class, I’ve used this as my reason as to why we love box squats in postpartum: it just made me so happy.
Check out this video of the Sumo Stance Box Squat and dig a little deeper into why it’s one of our favorite movements!
This movement is safe and sound through all stages of the Motherhood Transition! As erect humans, the need for dynamic stability is paramount (holding ourselves upright is kind of important). Both our anterior (front) and posterior (back) chains are there to create a balance that allows us to be upright beings. However, watching hundreds of humans move through functional strength and conditioning classes, I notice a dominance in the anterior among a greater percentage. The anterior chain also tends to become more dominant during pregnancy as the center of gravity shifts forward.
Whether you are pregnant or postpartum, developing the posterior chain is Queen! During pregnancy one is swiftly growing a rather large anterior load. Along with all of the other effects of pregnancy, a sense of ‘weakness’ may feel present in one’s posterior chain if not addressed with strength training. The box squat is so wonderful because it safely allows a pregnant woman to squat with load to specifically strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors. It is taking the load and compensation out of the quads and into the backside. With more stability in this major muscle group, a growing belly becomes less of a challenge to bear.
During the first year postpartum, we again stress the importance of the posterior chain. Now that the body is healing and our anterior body is changing from a big belly back to regaining full core function, stability is key. If we can rely on one thing to keep us healthy, strong, and injury-free in fitness, it is a properly trained posterior chain. Not only that, but you will be able to get off the couch, while holding a sleeping baby, with no hands!
Emily RussakBIRTHFIT West Los Angeles @birthfit_westlosangeles